What does your solopreneur business sell?

by Michele on July 24, 2013

Solopreneurs must be clear on what they are selling

What does your solopreneur business actually sell?

This seems like an easy question right?  You could probably answer it easily and without thinking.  Here’s something to think about though – do you sell what you think you sell?  Another way to ask this question is what do people think they are getting when they buy what you sell?

In a lot of cases, the answer is easy.  If you sell a physical product, the customer often knows what they are getting.  If you sell cookies it’s pretty easy to figure out that the customer wants cookies when they buy.

For many solopreneurs, the answer is not so simple.  They sell a product or service that is hard to describe either because they invented the business themselves or have a unique take on  an existing product or service.  Sometimes a business owner may know that their product or service is great, and customers agree once they have purchased but getting the customer to understand why they would want to buy is a challenge.

Take for example a massage therapist.  When people buy this service, they actually want many things other than just the massage.  They want physical and mental health benefits, comfort, enjoyment, stress reduction, improvement of injury and illness, relaxation and perhaps even more.

My own business could be an example as well.  People don’t actually buy my services because they want to talk on the phone, Skype or email with me.  They are buying the results I deliver using those ways of communicating.  They usually want more success in their business, more free time and less overwhelm.

Why does understanding what you sell (and what people buy) matter?

  1. It will help you talk about what you do in a way that matters to people.  If a relationship coach said to you “Hey, you can talk on the phone to me 3 times a month, want to buy?” most people would say no.  If that same coach used language such as “I can help you get more from your relationship, have a more equal partnership, have more harmonious disagreements, etc” many more people would be interested.
  2. It will help you tailor what you offers so that people actually want what you are selling.  Instead of selling a product or service, you can be on the lookout for unsolved problems that you can help with.
  3. It will help you deliver what you sell in a way that meets the customer’s expectation.  If the customer thinks they are getting help with relationship problems but you think you are selling phone calls, there’s a lot of room for the customer to be unhappy.  Put yourself in the customer’s place and focus on delivering what he or she thinks they purchased.

What do you sell in your business?  Is it what it appears to be on the surface?  How do you explain it to potential customers?  Tell me about it in the comments.


  1. don talbert says:

    A few weeks ago at our networking meeting, I asked everyone in the room to tell us what they sold. I told them it was not their product or service, but what their prospects were buying. Many had a difficult time, as they are conditioned to answer by promoting their product or service. I challenged them successfully to answer and think differently about what they REALLY sell.

    1. Michele says:

      Hi Don,

      Great comment as always! That’s a really interesting question to think about, “What are my buyers buying?” I like the idea of thinking about it from their perspective rather than mine.

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